Giant VU

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I would like to build a giant VU meter (like, wall sized, maybe 10 feet tall?) using electroluminescent tape or similiar (maybe some other kind of lighted panel would be cheaper?). For those that attended the grand opening party, there was a guy walking around with a very cool light-up t-shirt that was exactly what I'm talking about, only *slightly* smaller.

Basic Meter shows a project to build a simple VU meter that measures overall volume from an audio source (a single bar that bounces to the loudness of, say, a song).

Expanded Meter

The meter I want to build is probably better called a panel. I want to place 8 bars into a grid shape, and tune each bar to just a portion of the frequency spectrum (bandpass filters). We've all seen this somewhere before - the coolness comes from making 10 feet tall, right? Ideally I would like to control the system with a PIC or similiar microcontroller, so that instead of a VU meter/panel what we really have is a 10' tall 8x8 monochrome screen that just happens to be running a VU program. Should this secondary use really hold too much promise then the display pixel resolution may need to be increased at least to the point of being able to draw a Hive13 logo on it or something. The price of the glow tape is based on area I think, so it /may/ not add *too much* to the price of the project to get a resolution of 64x64 or even 128x128.

Current Status

This project is currently in the early planning stage.


Current Issues

  • These tape sellers are hard to get prices and samples from. Half the websites don't list prices, or don't offer small quanities, or require you to buy some expensive power supply with your tape (I intend to make my own supply - the tape requires an AC current).
  • The sites that do list prices show that this stuff ain't cheap.

Next Steps

  • Find a tape sample (good luck)
  • Play with tape sample
  • Build cheap LED version (cheap cheap cheap - I can fund this)
  • Get enough Hive members excited about project so that I can get the funds to build Giant version onto a wall at the Anchor space?